Monday, December 31, 2012

on orphans. and new years.

it was a normal day. 

flaming hot. my veil sticking to my face and neck. and sitting in a Somali's ladies lap on the "bus."

my morning was spent on the dirt covered ground of the orphanage. holding the babies who called me mama and traced the lines of my face. 

on the way there I had been called "infadel" and prayed Psalm 91 all the way. 

earlier that week I had been shoved pretty intensely against a wall. a few scabs and bruises were showing on my leg as I fed Abdourman on the ground. 

all of this added up for a moment that no one else but our Heavenly Daddy could orchestrate. 

praying over lifeless bodies. singing "Jesus loves me" in a language only I knew. and with sweat dripping from my brow. 
He made things clear. 

He was all I needed. everything I needed He encompassed. and He provided. 

protection..I had it. 
comfort...I continually experienced it. 
power...I saw it everyday. 

so as I enter into a new season. a season of unknowns. a season of waiting. and quite frankly an awkward season of life. 

I won't forget it. 
I won't forget what He taught me. 
I won't forget the babies. 
I won't forget the bruises and scabs. 
I can't. 

as I wait for the next go, I remember. 


2012 was filled with waiting. and visas. and flights. 

with hard goodbyes. and support like I have never known. 

it was full of life. and death. and stings. 

it was a year that encompassed Isaiah 58 in every way. 

it was crying babies. and begging street kids. 
it was students. and beggars. 
it was soccer balls and Bibles. 

it was persecution. 
and healing. 

it was forgiveness and mercy. 
lightness and darkness. 
power seen in the powerless nights. 

it was waterless days. and fighting for my life. 

it was an African hospital and claiming I would live. 

it was hurting goodbyes. and exciting hellos. 

it was the start. not the end. 

it was home. in more than one place. 

it was the greatest year of faithfulness I have ever known.


Heavenly Daddy, I am here for Your earthly glory. do Your thing. 

2013, bring it. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

on a Wednesday in a cafe.

I have been a little over 3 months.

3 months of sharing stories. tears. meeting new friends. realizing you lose friends. starting GSOM classes. interning at Mission Change. getting used to water on a daily basis. remembering. praying. and waiting.

before I left the field, I talked extensively about what would happen when I got home. how I would feel. what things would change. but things happen differently than expected. and it certainly did for me.

mine looked like sleepless nights. a hurting heart. and swollen eyes. dreams of the kids. prayers that *told Him what to do.* and trying to figure out exactly what He was going to do.

my heart is healed. my sleep is back. and I am at peace.
and He did that. all of it. was not untl last week. sitting at a table. with my best friends. outside. at a coffee shop. that He blew. my. mind.

I couldn't tell you what we were talking about. I remember nothing about our conversations. because from one simple text message. He spoke to my heart. and I got it.

the text message read: "I know He will put me where He wants me."

I read it over and over and over again. He will put me where He wants me.

And He took me back to a women's retreat. with my mentor. the semester before I graduated college. I had no idea where He was sending me or what I was going to do. but I did know He was going to give me some clear answers that weekend and He did.

a sweet, sweet lady prayed over me. and He spoke so clearly. He revealed so much. But the one thing that He has reminded me of DAILY is that "the first place you go will not be your last nor your home."


I had forgotten about this. completely forgotten. until that night. with my best friends. when God used a text message and brought this to my remembrance.

East Africa. my heart is there.
but my God is there. and that is enough.

He will put me where He wants me. and that is going to look a lot different than I have probably planned on.

life might look like where's waldo. life might look like Him sending me to another continent.
but this I know. He has it.

so this season is a season of giving Him my heart .all of it. giving Him Africa. letting Him deal with that.

because as CHEESY as this sounds...He has some pretty incredible things in store for my future family. my future husband HAS to be praying the same way. that God would take control and send him wherever. and I find great peace in that.

may Him reveal Himself deeply. and completely.

so as I lay down my wanting for Africa may He be glorified and exalted. Amen.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

thanksgiving after afreeka.

i am thankful for the day in 2005. in high school. sitting on a soccer field in Peru. when i gave up my dreams of a rich husband. white picket fence. and all white kids. the moment where i realized holding babies and loving on people for His namesake is way more important than any career i could ever imagine.

i am thankful for dirt covered floors in the orphanage. babies surrounding me. feeding them for hours nonstop. where i realized that being His meant everything. 

i am thankful for the babies. the babies who traced the lines of my face. and cried when i left. the ones who tugged on my skirt. 

i am thankful for Abdourman. my man with cerebral palsy. who was covered in flies but filled with a love like i have never known. the little man who i sang "J loves you" daily to. the one who haunts my dreams and takes up pages in my journal. 

i am thankful for Aboker who stole my heart. and called me mommy in Somali. the precious toddler who fought for my lap and learned Jes*s and love in english. 

i am thankful for the knocks at my door. and the kids who graced my apartment and steps. begging for water. bread. milk. the kids who lived on the street but found a home at our place. 

i am thankful for the power outages and water being out for WEEKS. because i saw His power. and that's enough. 

i am thankful for the hospital bed. and thumbs up pictures for my parents when i had dengue fever. 

i am thankful for the market and my friends who work there. 

i am thankful for my brilliant students who have a killer Southern accent. 

i am thankful He healed Azma of her fever. i am thankful for the shoes He bought for kids. and the soccer balls He provided that showed them that their prayers were answered when they asked our Heavenly Daddy. 

i am thankful for the orphanage in E. and the summer away from the heat in jabooty. 

i am thankful for soccer. bikes. and goats to chase. 

i am thankful for uno. and the kids who played it with me. 

i am thankful for enjera. yes. 

i am thankful that He chooses to use me. He doesn't need me but i am forever thankful He lets me have a piece in the grand story He is writing. 

i am thankful that He is writing a cool story RIGHT now. and even when i do not know what that will look like...He gives me peace. 

the light shines for the next step. amen. 

declare His blessings among all nations. Psalm 96:3.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

in America.

hey, I'm in America and it STILL feels weird.

the months have flown by. months of crying. months of joy. months full of remembering. months of reconnections. months of retelling stories. and rekindling the fire that I have for a God who sends me.

my nights are filled with dreams. dreams of what happened. dreams of the babies on the street. dreams of our AWESOME God. but my days are filled with opportunities. opportunities to serve His people...HERE.

the more I get back into my groove, the more I it even possible to have my heart literally all over the world?

to love a people so much THERE. to love a people so much in Peru. and to continuously be reminded that I am in MY city to love these people for a season. however long that season just might be.

there is guilt. much guilt. but that will go away in time.

I get to have showers everyday. I get to eat more than rice and beans. and I never have to worry about my government turning off my power because I am of a different religion.

I don't get thrown against walls. I don't get stones thrown at me. And I surely do not get followed by angry mobs.

I get to go to stores. walk without fear. sit in a comfortable house. and drive a car.

{this things evoke guilt. but He is working}

little things spark my memory and take me back. and in some moments I can almost feel the dirty, grimy hands pulling on mine. when I eat and drink {water}...I remember.

I remember those days. so many of those days. filled with buying bread...water...and hunting down the street kids who would hide from the police.

I remember the blind beggar who had never felt someone's touch and who jumped as I poured water into her mouth.

He was faithful every time. to let His mercy and love pour out. to let them see His face and not Ivy. every. single. time.

I remember when I hear stories about sickness.

I remember walking home from school. seeing Azma. high fever and barely moving. several weeks after I saw God restore her body. and mama-mode went into overdrive as I lifted her up. carried her up my stairs and into my apartment {as dumb as that may have been for a M (her mother) to be there. her body was limp. not a move. I got water. bathed her. prayed earnestly over her tired, helpless body. and a few hours later...our God delivered a healing.

I remember the babies. my babies. sitting on the orphanage floor. waiting. waiting on their mama and daddys. and one day...they will come. I have to believe that.

I remember the days of no water. and no electricty. no power in sight. but sweet friends, those are the moments He showed off. His power was seen like no other. in the darkness. without the basic necessities. He was there. He was good.

as I help the homeless here. as I love on kids here. my God will not let me forget. His people. His children. and for that I am glad.

because one day...I will be back. full of a new fire. and new wisdom that only He can give.

I am thankful today that He has called us to all people. every nation. every tribe. every tongue.

our prayers should look like..."to whom shall I'

not on your one or two week mission trip. not when you have a free Saturday. not on Sunday.

but today. go. be His hands. be His feet. He is good..and His glory will be known.

He's not kidding around when He says "go."

believe that. and just do it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

never once.

it was a rainy morning. pretty perfect for the mood of the compound as I had my bags packed and outside my door.

the kids were quiet. not the typical morning we were used to. they didn't talk at breakfast. and they certainly made no jokes.

the sound of the dirt made an extra crunch as I walked to the shop one last time.

one last time to hear "ivy, ivy. ivy" screamed from all the neighborhood children.
one last time to hold Shima's hand. interlocked. white and black. exactly how He envisioned.
one last time to hear I love you's.
one last time to memorize every line of their face.

one last time happened a few hours ago. and I am most confident that I will never be the same.

airports give time to think. flying alone gives moments alone. just by yourself. alone. praying. crying. crying. crying.

it was a hard morning. but it's not so much the "lasts" that get me. it's that this whole journey is over.

when I left djibouti...another country was stealing my heart. but now I am mourning my leaving DJ too. my heart is for those people. for my kids. for the babies.

I am not so naive as to think Satan will not take my weak heart and try to tell me lies. I am confident this week will be the toughest back home.

he has started. "you didn't do anything worthwhile." "why go back?" "no one was even saved."

but he seems to ALWAYS froget that my God already won. and always wins the war.

He has my heart. and though it may be shaken, it will not fail.

so as I sit in this airport alone waiting for Amsterdam. I will praise Him. confident He is at work. confident that He is holding my heart. and confident His very hand is the one drying my tears.

there have been scars (I have MANY physical scars). there have been struggles. there have been battles. and bad dreams. there have been children that have died. there have been people who rejected Him. but.

never once.

He never left. He never will.

never once.
have I realized His love more than I did in Africa.

haye aan ammaanno!

{let us praise Him!} (somali)

never once. not one time.

Monday, August 20, 2012

i could get arrested for this.

it was warm outside. a dry, hot night that caused me to spend my evening sitting outside my room. taking in Africa for the last week. soaking in the sights and smells.

the boys had just used my soap {the one that smells like sunflowers} and the showers were filling the compound with a sweet aroma. they were wet and tired after a LONG night of soccer.

i have come to learn when teenage boys get tired, they get mad. and when they get mad they act stupidly.

a rock thrown on the hard ground startled me and caused me to look up. and there it was.

the boys. the boys without parents of their own. the boys who call each other brothers. the boys who are desperate for love and affection.

the boys were on the ground. fist to fist. face to face. tirelessly shoving one another. hitting one another. kicking one another.

quickly the adults ran to seperate them while i was alone. in my thoughts. and severely praying for peace among them.

tears flowing. hot tears kept flowing and i couldn't make them stop.

they were screaming things in amharic. hurtful things. about how they were both unwanted. that their parents threw them away. that even the food they eat was not theirs.

these boys fought. why? because hurt people hurt other people.

and then. it hits me.

why am i sitting here in tough, hard, exhausting spiritual warfare for one more week?
why am i missing home like crazy and killing mosquitoes every minute of every day?

love. the reason is love.

i love these boys DEEPLY. God loves them even more. and He wants them to know that.
to feel His presence. to feel secure in His love. to know that He is their defender when no one else is there to defend them.

so desperately, i wait.

i wait on the day to leave. i anxiously await seeing my sister's face. but more importantly i cover this country in sweet prayers, desperately wanting THESE kids to be the change. to be the ones to bring Him fame here.

love. love is always the reason.

And let us consider this: may we spur one another towards acts of LOVE. Hebrews 10:24.

Monday, June 25, 2012

leaving on a jet plane.

i took it all in today. holding back tears. and drinking in the sounds of the sweet ville.

the orphanage was hard.

kissing my Abdourman...knowing it could be more than a year before i check on him again....was almost more than my heart could handle. i cried. and i cried hard. the hard, warm tears that overflow when you aren't expecting them. coming just around the time the line "red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight..."

oh, that he would realize how special he is in the sight of the King. for him to understand that i would take him home to be mine in a second. that he would know he is special. his disability does not mean he is worthless but rather gives our Daddy the opportunity to show off a little bit more.

but all of the sentimental came to a screeching hault when....the typical day in the life happened....the newest addition threw up all over me. almost spoiled milk on a the 120 degree heat. let's all take a moment and realize how disgusting THAT is.

i wouldn't have wanted my last day there any other way.

my bags are packed....okay, almost. and they are overweight. i know, so typical. i earn the worst packer award. you think i would be good at it by now.

and my ticket is ready for tomorrow.

a new adventure. a new stamp in my passport. and new kids to love. new people to meet. new everything.

while all of that excites me, it is still hard to leave. with not a lot of pictures being permitted here...i am trying to ingrain their faces in my memory. every line. every scar. every little piece of hair out of place.

so tonight i took a walk. bought the kids some stuff. and said goodbye to my students.

the hope we have is that every child i loved. every student i poured into. He was there. He is here. and He continues to work even when i am gone.

Ethiopia, i'm coming for ya!

no blogs until i arrive back home to the states. it's illegal there.

see ya on the flip side :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

on leaving. and loving. and hospitals.

walking by the used clothes market I smelled it. the smell of sweat. old tshirts. dirt. and sheer desperation.

it took me back to about 2 weeks ago. that same smell was in a small hospital room only lit up by a window right beside my bed. i was queasy. i was burning up. i was sicker than i realized.

it was in that room. in that moment. smelling all the smells of this place within a hospital full of dying people. it hit me and it hit me hard as the doctor freaked out over my fever that had gone WAY down over the course of the night before i arrive. He saved me.

not the fairy tale kinda saving, knight on a white horse, riding off into the sunset. but the kind of saving i needed. our Heavenly Daddy touched me. in the hot room of my house. alone. with a tear stained pillow. and pain like i have never known.

i am not naive. {well, i am...but not for this} that night my fever was so high. with no medicine. that my body could have went into shock. i could have had a really bad story but i don't.

i have a story of grace. and mercy. and pure miracle-working power.

most people don't go into a hospital in east africa and come out well. they leave dead. or close to death. but my story is different because He lives. so i can too.

so as i look at the calendar and see the days winding down here. i am certain that my being here was no mistake.

i was not forbidden to enter somewhere else because of chance. i was not randomly chosen for this work. but instead it was divine intervention. one that should forever be remembered and praised.

He makes these incredible stories out of the literal dust. and that is all i saw when i arrived.

a house in the worst neighborhood. no water. people screaming and throwing rocks at me. dirt. sewage. sweat. dirt. rocks. dirt. sweat. and for a minute...i wanted home. but i did not realize that He was preparing this place to be my home.

it happened so quickly. and so discreetly. that i cannot tell you the exact moment or day {seeing as i have LACKED on journaling..} but it happened. and one was just HOME. where my heart was. where my people were. where i wanted to be.

i saw a place full of joy even though every place i looked i saw sorrow.
i saw a place full of peace even though chaos existed everywhere.
i saw a place full of hope although desperation was sitting on every corner on a cardboard box.

i knew this place was ready. it is ready. for seeds to be buried. for watering to happen. for love to take ACTION.

you see....this place is a dot on the map. no one cares about it. THE largest organizations for this business do not even have people here.

but He cares. He loves them. He. is. here. and He will be here...even after i hop that plane Tuesday.

am i sad to leave? you betcha.
am i scared to leave? yes.
do i know that His stories turn out the best? of course.

so i will leave.

the babies i adore. and the kids who call me hojo.

i will leave the neighborhood that kisses my hands and brings their naked babies for me to bless.

i will leave my students knowing that they are on the brink of learning EXCELLENT english...with a Southern accent.

i will leave the dirt. and the sewage. and the hottest weather on earth.

i will leave the veils.

i will leave my broken bed...knowing it is a representation of the very thing He did here. took those white knuckles of mine and broke them free.

i will move on to another place in need of love. and give a love that cannot be contained.

Monday, May 21, 2012

white knuckles in the middle of the desert.

it was a long drive from the city to the bush. miles upon miles of desert. rocks. dirt. repeat.

i talked some. but some of the time i found myself quiet. sitting. staring. wondering what this whole thing could turn into.

{don't panic yet. wait it out, sweet people. keep reading.}

days spent in the bush. alone to talk with our Daddy. to see what His plan is for this place i call home. and it turned into something i wasn't expecting.

He shook me up.

He. shook. me. up.

i mean...let's be real...i am already shaken. stirred. all that jazz. i mean for Pete's sake....i am living in Africa.

but here is the deal.

i live here with white knuckles. it's a regular occurence in my life. probably in yours too.

we know He has control. He writes the story. but goodness...i like to hold on to what i THINK should happen. where i THINK i should go. how long i THINK i should be there.

He loosened my grip. held my hand. and eased my fears. all in the middle of the desert.
but not without standing firm in His endearing, stern Daddy voice...the one that makes me stand at attention and not question His plans.

so i am sure of a few things. He is good. His plans for me are good. Africa has STOLEN my heart. the Somali people...are for me to love.

so i will come home. for a while. {no freaking out, please}. spend time with family. get a big girl job. spend every waking moment with people i love more than life.

learn to drive a stick.
look at somali. prepare to learn it once i get back somewhere.
get credentials.

i am confident that He has it together.

 and that means my no running water needed, Africa loving, baby holding, moutain climbing man of a husband too. Africa has made my prayers for him increase to new heights. and i am pretty sure he is a baller.

so a long blog post to say what could be said in a sentence.

He writes beautiful stories. sends us to perfect places. lets us love an imperfect people. and helps losen our grip in the middle of a dry land.

mungu ni muema.

Monday, April 23, 2012


i currently am living in the country that makes the ellen show and is in the funny crossword puzzles. djibouti is a country famous for one thing...sounding like your booty.

it's a place plagued by disease. stolen by poverty. and hurt by greediness. and i never want to forget it.

i want to remember what it feels like to walk down the street and feel rocks under my feet. to feel the sweet hands that grab mine and walk with me. to remember the way the dirty, wet kisses feel on my cheeks at least 30 times a day. to remember having to jump over puddles of water that stinks in the worst way possible.

i want to take in everything. and save it. to bottle it up.

the way the incense smells in the street. the way my students look when i teach them a new concept. the way the market looks early in the morning before everyone gets out. the sounds outside by window after the sun goes down.

i never want to get used to it. never. i want it to stay new.

for the rumble of the bas-yar going through town to remain a little sketchy. for the immense amount of goats everywhere to still startle me a little bit. for the smell of food cooking mixed with exhaust fumes to always remind me of this sweet place that i call home.

and the current question on my heart is...will i always feel so stranded? stranded between countries and people that i love so much?


wanting the people i love most to experience it all. to see His power in ways that i can't describe with measely words on a computer screen. to see the beautiful people He created. to feel the way the babies tug on your heart. the way you learn that they don't need you as much as you need them. to see the bigger picture. to realize it's not about us. ever. to hear the mix of 4 languages coming together.


missing the people at home. but not wanting to even think about leaving. wanting to bring pieces of this place home. preferrably in the human form.


seeing the faces of poverty. holding the ones who have no father or mother. feeding those with swollen faces and bellies. touching those with diseases. loving those who are unlovable. blessing those who curse me. and walking with the lonely.

who would have thought living a life without water most of the time and the smell of sewage everywhere would have COMPLETELY captivated me? it reeled me right in.

i was a goner from the very beginning.

it's like a disease. with no cure. it has taken over.

i am in love. the good kind of love. the best kind of love. the kind you don't ever want to live without.

and it will remain like that. inshallah....(if G wills it).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


one of my biggest fears before I came wasn't that I would be injured. or kidnapped. or killed even. I didn't really concern myself with how dirt I would be all hours of the day or the fact that I wouldn't have a lot of water. but I did worry about coming in vain.

coming across the world for no reason. for no purpose. leaving without one life changed. without hope given to at least one. just one little life is worth it all.

well, our Daddy takes care of these things. He is the only one who can. and He knows my love language unlike any other. and He speaks it everyday.

today that love language and easing of fear came after a day of relying completely on Him. long hours spent wishing I was home. in my bed. in my house. in my comfort zone. with air conditioning and good clean water. He didn't give me those things but He was here with me the whole time. and that was evident. through a tear stained pillow. phone calls from home. and verses that reassured me that "my sweet darling, it is just for a little while." that little while felt like forever. and I am still getting over a bacteria/water/stomach issue that only Africa could deliver so horribly. but He is here. He was here. and He will be here. even when the moments of "uh, what did I get mysef into?" arise again.

so today was a day of faking the happiness. acting like I was feeling AWESOME while teaching. smiling at every person I see, because I believe that is a little way He eases in to shine. and it may be a way He eases me into their hearts. into a place where He can take control.

I have 18 students. most of them show up everyday. and they are all precious. but there are a few who have stolen my heart. Amal is one of those. her english is very good but she wanted a class with her peers. and she has picked up quite the uh, may I say....Ivy accent. today she could not come to class. so she sent a note by a classmate that read.

"Dear Ivy,
I'm Amal. I want to tell you I can't come this afternoon at class because I have some problem in my home and I have a problem in me. You can't understand because you are not in my heart but please give me a little time to arrange my problems. Thank you too much. Amal"

oh, my heart. how precious is that. maybe I am just reading into this...but I know someone who likes to start working on broken pieces...putting them back together. nzambe malamu.

I went to check on her at the store. she is well. smiling like always. and said she will talk my with me tomorrow about her problem. loving on them is my favorite part of teaching. FAVORITE part.

as I left the school and headed for the "french" side of town. I get to be a little more at ease .take off my veil. which feels awesome after a fever and temps way above 102. my kiddos usually recoginize me in my hood. of course...hojo ivy. but today they were on the wrong side of town. but that did not stop them. running. screaming. clapping. the whole nine yards in the middle of downtown. it was a parade of sorts. overwhelmed? yes. tickled? yes.

now, I do not speak Somali or Afar. (but I will soon. even if that means studying in the 229) so our language barrier means I dance, I smile, I laugh, they laugh, they point, I look, we high five. we act like we could understand each other, but we can't. it's really the coolest thing I have ever experienced.

I might have taught one of them the slick hand move where you slide it on your hair...grease style....when somone goes to shake your hand. he pulled it on me today. and laughed so hard he fell down. then there is Romeo. who after seeing his friend's move, he took my hand and kissed it. then kissed my other hand. then my first hand again. he got a little carried away. and giggled the whole time. then said thanks, hojo ivy. my heart.

these are some everyday evidences that He indeed is working among me. stirring up a revolution, one of love, compassion, mercy, and hope. let's believe in that HOPE. for He is able.

shine on.

Friday, April 6, 2012

a broken bed.

tomorrow marks a month that I have been here. a MONTH. cannot believe it.
the day I arrived consisted of lots of jet lag. and tears after seeing my neighborhood. I think I was in shock. my roommate left and I had some intense conversations with Daddy.

why me? why here? why now?

and boy, did He answer.
"because I chose you for these people for this place for this time. do you not see My plan?"

and alone in this tiny apartment with no connection to the outside world it all made sense. living for SUCH A TIME AS THIS. Esther 4:14.

once I put it all in His hands my fears were put at ease. He delivered me from them. His plan does indeed make sense.

I pass hundreds of beggars a day. most handicapped. sitting on a piece of cardboard with nothing to call their own but what is on their back. I get followed by street kids who have taken a liking to me. they love me and I love them so much. they live the streets...being exposed to fighting, to sexual abuse, to dangers of all sorts. their means of survival are composed of their sweet faces, begging...pleading for a little bit of food, water, money...anything. the people in my neighborhood have learned my name. I am that crazy white girl. the only one who lives here. the one who kisses babies. and shakes hands. and says hello to everyone I see. they see me coming and prepare themselves. the kids call me "hojo ivy"...mother. they get special treats. sometimes they go with me to the grocery store. sometimes they play futbol with me. but most of the time I end up with a baby on my hip no matter where I am and I don't mind one bit.

when I see their faces His words ring clear..."let THEM come unto Me...." He loved them and so do I. I long to be His hands to them. to show them love. what it looks like, what it feels like, what it can do...radically change you.

I have smelled the smells of a people that need something they don't even realize they need. I have passed by open hands that do not know that what they need I cannot give them. I hear babies cry every minute of the day. I see desperation. I smell hopelessness...mixed with sewage and trash. I walk through mud thinking of what it must be like to live in that. I miss water most days and become grateful that we even have a water supply. I eat food and find someone to take the here is far too precious to sit in a refrigerator.

I have sat holding babies who have never been held by their mother. I have fed babies that are so sick they throw up when food touches their mouth. I have cried over the sweet ones who have a disorder that has handicapped them physically and mentally. I have been disappointed that WE have not done more. that we have not adopted. that we have not sent aide. I have sang a lot of songs they cannot understand. I have taught babies "hello" and "bye bye." I have seen a special little man lay in a swing meant for an infant and have seizures. I have seen the other special little man choke on his on mucus. I have realized that there is no way that I cannot adopt as many children as possible...some of those being from the very place I rock babies. I have felt the fingers of a baby trace my face and stare into my eyes because he never had the opportunity to do that to his own mother. I have felt ashamed that I acted like this world didn't exist. that the fly infested orphanages with babies screaming, babies that are dehydrated, babies that need someone to hold them, babies that cling to anything that resembles a mother, babies that need medical attention, babies that cannot help themselves but are depending on us to live out what J commanded...did not exist. but oh, sweet friends, they do. and I kiss every single baby every minute I can. I tell them how special they are and that there is a special family who will love them....not even knowing if that is true. and if His plan means a tear stained pillow case every single night...I have to be okay with that.

I have taught students who respect me. who listen to me. who are the smartest in the world. and I am not biased at all :) they have picked up so fast. some cannot read. some cannot write. some cannot even detect one letter from another. but man, are they great! I love it! the biggest class the school has ever had...just a revolution getting ready.

rocks thrown. words said. screams yelled. hand held. feet dirtied. ball kicked. babies held. mamas hugged. buses ridden. hospital visited. students loved. water outage. power cuts. dreams realized. visions fulfilled. yarps answered. fears stomped on. languages being learned. friends missed. long emails read.

bed broken. (this happened night 2) welcome, to the real Africa :)

He is worth it people. go do something not for your glory, but His today. make a difference. love somebody hard. give your money away. be willing to look stupid. for Him. only Him. He's the only good thing worth giving it all for.

Nzambe malamu.

Friday, February 17, 2012

pumped up kicks.

done with college. no job. waiting for Africa.

as i sit here staring at our dining the packing room of Ivy ....i see 2 huge suitcases packed. that are a testament of faithfulness and willingness.

an email on December 28 changed the course of my life. or at least my life for 2012.

long days waiting on "go" with a quiet restlessness that no one could quite understand.

sitting on pins and needles. waiting for an answer. any answer. the answer i wanted. the answer i didn't want. but ultimately waiting to hear the answer that He wanted.

He has the say so and that is been CLEARLY evident in this adventure.

my house and room are filled with all things Sudan. and people all across the country...actually all across the world have been thinking of, lifting up the country...the country they thought i was going to.

SURPRISE! it wasn't in vain. and i do not regret not one thing that has happened.

has it been tough? oh, yeah.

has it been an emotional roller coaster with a whole lot of feet dangling, heart racing, tear stained face, stomach in my throat drops? oh, most definitely.

but have i learned to trust the one who leading me more than i trust myself? yes.

have i seen His faithfulness cover me like a literal avalanche every single day? yes.

and i have witnessed professors, former classmates, and people in general stand in awe that He has given me the peace and courage to press on in this adventure? yes.

doors have been opened. things are going good. a big package was sent off to Washington DC. plane tickets will be bought this week. and the people closest to me are mostly in denial that the time has come.

but oh, what a joyful time this is.

i have danced around my house more times than i can count. to the answer of no. and the answer of yes.

i am nervous but filled to the brim with anticipation of what He will do.
i am scared but filled with peace knowing He is in control.

He is my constant. and for that simple fact alone, i am grateful.

March 2 is my tentative leave date.

my long skirts, Columbia shirts, bandanas, chacos, TOMS and head scarves are ready. but i will use these next 2 weeks to prepare this heart for the world. literally, the world. His world that He so graciously has given me the chance to love.

i am living out a story that unfortunately very few people understand. do i have family and friends that support me and love me every single step of the way? of course.

but my heart is one that is wild about the world. and the nations. and seeing babies fed and people clothed. in my city. and in my world.

and i just can't sit still.

keep on shining, sweet people. more to come soon!